Feminist Criticism of Frankenstein and The Yellow Wallpaper

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Feminism in literature has existed as early as the 16th century, the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities (Shneir, Miram). Throughout history, women have portrayed the idea of feminism in literature, with one of the most famous feminist writers being Mary Shelley. Shelley was born in 1797 into a notable family, with her mother, Mary Wollstonecraft, being a renowned feminist writer herself (Biogram). Her novel Frankenstein was published in 1818, a time when most women were extremely conservative, and were deprived of the rights and opportunities that men held. In the novel, Shelley portrays feminism by essentially mocking women and giving them a lack of power -- showing how women "should not" be. One way Shelley mocks women in Frankenstein is the societal role she gives her female characters. This is first seen in the beginning of the novel, when young Elizabeth is presented to Victor Frankenstein in the form of a "pretty present" (Shelley 7), portraying Elizabeth as being in a sense a gift to Victor, causing her to be seen as inferior to him. Elizabeth's physical appearance is also frequently referred to: her golden hair, blue eyes, and thin body; but rarely are her non-superficial attributes, assuming that those hold little value. The focus on only the physicality of women is also portrayed in The Birthmark by Nathaniel Hawthorne. The short story discusses a husband, Alymer's, wishes to have his wife's facial birthmark removed, due to

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